NBA Strength Rating: Celtics Positions Before Draft Thursday originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Celtics didn’t have much time to consider their playoff run. After losing to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals last week, it’s time to focus on the 2022 NBA draft and free agency.
The draft is scheduled to take place on Thursday at 8:00 pm ET, and the start of a new year in the league is just around the corner. It doesn’t look like a busy night for the Celtics, who currently only own the No. 53 after trading their first round to the San Antonio Spurs in a deal with Derrick White. Of course, there’s always the chance to get a few late-night blockbusters.
However, Thursday marks the start of what should be an eventful off-season for Celtics president Brad Stevens and company. The NBA landscape will change over the next few weeks, which means now is the time to re-evaluate the league with power ratings too early. Let’s intervene before the draft and the free will frenzy starts.
30. Houston Rockets
2021-22 result: 20-62
Houston will have the third pick in the draft as they look to add another cornerstone to the franchise with last year’s No. 2 Jalen Green. It will be some time before the Rockets return to rivalry, but an intriguing mix of young talent will make them worthy of attention next season.
29. Orlando Magic
2021-22 result: 22-60
The Magic won the draft lottery and will add another prospect to their young core of Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, Markell Fultz and Wendell Carter Jr. They are also looking forward to the return of Jonathan Isaac, who tore his ACL in Orlando’s bladder in 2020.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder
2021-22 result: 24-58
The Thunder will have the second overall pick in the draft and will most likely pick either Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, or Paolo Bankero. They also own the 12th and 30th picks, giving them plenty of opportunities to add to their young core of Shay Gilgeus-Alexander, Josh Giddy, Alexei Pokusevski and Lou Dort.
27. Detroit Pistons
2021-22 result: 23-59
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It’s time for the Pistons to start building around last year’s top pick, Cade Cunningham. Maybe they’ll turn on big man DeAndre Ayton, whose future with the Phoenix Suns is in doubt.
26. Indiana Pacers
2021-22 result: 25-57
The Pacers appear to be focused on getting younger, as evidenced by their acquisition of 22-year-old Tyrese Haliburton. They currently hold the No. 6 overall pick in the draft, giving them a big pick on Thursday night.
25. Sacramento Kings
2021-22 result: 30-52
The Kings are hoping the deal with Damontas Sabonis works and the ex-Pacers wing can form a solid pair with De’Aaron Fox. Judging by the results of last year, this is wishful thinking. Sacramento hasn’t made the playoffs in 16 years.
24. Portland Trail Blazers
2021-22 result: 27-55
The Trail Blazers are desperate for Damian Lillard’s support. One way to do this is to include their seventh overall pick in a blockbuster.
23. Washington Wizards
2021-22 result: 35-47
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Where the Wizards end up next season depends on the future of Bradley Beal. The star shooting guard is expected to forgo his $36.4 million player option and become a free agent. The bookmakers have Boston is thought to be Beale’s landing site. if he really leaves Washington this summer.
22. New York Knicks
2021-22 result: 37-45
The Knicks crashed to the ground and finished 11th in the East last season. There is a lot of work to be done to return to the rivalry, but talented players tend to want to play at Madison Square Garden. No wonder New York is going to be famous this summer. possibly Kyrie Irving?
21. San Antonio Spurs
2021-22 result: 34–48, lost in Play-In Tournament
The Spurs enter the draft on Thursday with the 9th, 20th and 25th picks in the first round. These picks, along with their ceiling spot, give them the chance to build a squad that can compete for a playoff spot again in 2023.
20. Charlotte Hornets
2021-22 result: 43-39, lost in Play-In Tournament
The Hornets are still looking for a new head coach after Kenny Atkinson changed his mind and decided to stay with Golden State. Whoever leads Charlotte is hoping that Miles Bridges – a restricted free agent this offseason – will return to the ranks along with the cornerstone of the La’Melo Ball franchise.
19. Atlanta Hawks
2021-22 result: 43-39, lost to the Heat in round 1
The Hawks regressed after reaching the Eastern Finals in 2021. But with a solid young core in Trae Young, John Collins, De’Andre Hunter and Kevin Huerter, it may be wise for Atlanta to avoid any drastic action this offseason.
18. Cleveland Cavaliers
2021-22 result: 44–38, lost in Play-In Tournament
The Cavs exceeded all expectations last season and will look to prove it was no accident. They will have a solid chance to do so with young fighters Evan Mobley and Darius Garland leading the way. First, they need to decide what to do with restricted free agent Collin Sexton.
17. New Orleans Pelicans
2021-22 result: 36-46, lost to Suns in round 1
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Zion Williamson could return to the Pelicans after missing all of last season. This is great news for a team that still managed to make the playoffs despite the lack of generational talent. Having Williamson along with CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram could give New Orleans a shot at the playoffs next year.
16. Los Angeles Lakers
2021-22 result: 33-49
The Lakers have a new head coach in Darwin Ham, but there’s still a lot of work to do in Los Angeles. While parting ways with Russell Westbrook seems like an obvious next step, finding a team willing to accept his contract will not be easy. after his brutal season. However, a team with LeBron James and a healthy Anthony Davis cannot be discounted.
15. Toronto Raptors
2021-22 result: 48-34, lost to 76ers in Round 1
The Raptors are in good shape thanks to Rookie of the Year Scotty Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anunobi and Gary Trent. Even if it’s a quiet off-season in Toronto, this is a group that could once again take a place in the top six of the Eastern Conference standings.
14. Chicago Bulls
2021-22 result: 46-36, lost to Bucks in 1st round
A huge season led by DeMar DeRozan helped the Bulls to a playoff berth, although their chances of another playoff berth next year would be reduced if Zach LaVine left as a free agent. If he returns, the Bulls will be back in the spotlight, with DeRozan, LaVine and Lonzo Ball leading the charge.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves
2021-22 result: 46–36, lost to Grizzlies in Round 1
Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards led the Wolves to a playoff berth and narrowly missed the Grizzlies in the first round. By hiring former Denver Nuggets president Tim Connelly, Minnesota has shown it is ready to continue its 2021-2022 campaign and hit another run next season.
12. Utah Jazz
2021-22 result: 49-33, lost to Mavericks in Western Conference Semifinals
The Jazz continue to look for their next head coach after Quin Snyder’s resignation. They also have to figure out how to deal with the star tandem of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. Gobert is likely to be traded this offseason, but it will take a lot of effort for any team to acquire him.
11. Brooklyn Nets
2021-22 result: 44–38, lost to Celtics in 1st round
There are some big questions about the next season for Brooklyn. First, is Kyrie Irving still going to be part of the equation? Also, what will Ben Simmons look like after his back surgery? The Nets are a terrible team with Kevin Durant, a determined Irving and a healthy Simmons, but that doesn’t feel like reality at the moment.
10. Philadelphia 76ers
2021-22 result: 51-31, lost to Heat in Eastern Conference Semifinals
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The #1 storyline of the 76ers’ offseason is how they’ll operate with James Harden. Giving him a max contract wouldn’t be the wisest move given the way he performed last season, but losing him would leave a gaping hole in the roster. The former MVP could also exercise his $47.4 million player option, which could be the best possible outcome for Philadelphia.
9. Denver Nuggets
2021-22 result: 48–34, lost to Warriors in Round 1
If Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are healthy, the Nuggets should have no problem making it back to the playoffs with a chance of success. Nikola Jokic should be back in the MVP conversation.
8. Los Angeles Clippers
2021-22 result: 42-40, lost in Play-in Tournament
Simply put, the Clippers are a championship-level team if Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are both healthy. However, for now, it’s a big “if”.
7. Miami Heat
2021-22 result: 53-29, lost to Celtics in Eastern Conference Finals
The Heat could use another scorer to help Jimmy Butler. But even if they remain silent this offseason, they will still have a roster capable of winning an NBA title once again.
6. Phoenix Suns
2021-22 result: 64-18, lost to Mavericks in Western Conference Semifinals
All eyes are on DeAndre Ayton as the big man could end up on a new team next season if both sides can’t agree on an extension. It will be a hard blow for the Suns, who lost in the 2021 NBA Finals and failed in this year’s playoffs after a stellar regular season.
5. Dallas Mavericks
2021-22 result: 52–30, lost to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
Luka Doncic came so close to leading the Mavs to the NBA Finals. If Dallas can surround their star with more talent, it won’t be a surprise to see this team again at the top of the Western Conference in 2023.
4. Memphis Grizzlies
2021-22 result: 56–26, lost to the Warriors in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
The Grizzlies are one of the funniest teams to watch, with Ja Morant leading the youth group. There may be some regression after a breakout campaign, but Memphis has the talent to take another deep break.
3. Milwaukee Bucks
2021-22 result: 51-31, lost to Celtics in Eastern Conference Semifinals
You could certainly make the argument that the Bucks would have made it to the Eastern Finals if Chris Middleton had been healthy. They took the Celtics to Game 7 despite Middleton being out for the entire series. Milwaukee shouldn’t have any problem recapturing if he can add some depth along with Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday.
2. Boston Celtics
2021-22 result: 51-31, lost to Warriors in NBA Finals
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The Celtics made one of the greatest turns in league history and ended up within striking distance of their first NBA title since 2008. Banner 18 will have to wait at least another year, but he made it to Game 6 of the NBA Finals against Golden State—something Boston fans didn’t think was possible in January.
Now the C’s will try to take the next step with the young stars Jason Tatum as well as Jaylen Brown make another leap forward. Boston could also benefit from adding another scorer on the bench as his second unit disappointed in the final.
1. Golden State Warriors
2021-22 result: 53-29, rev. Celtics in the NBA Finals
It’s no surprise that the Warriors took the No. 1 power ranking too soon after claiming their fourth league title in the past eight seasons. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green will return to try out for the fifth ring, though there are some decisions to be made this summer: Kevon Looney and Gary Payton II will become free agents, and Andrew Wiggins will enter the final year of his contract. .